Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted

This is my exterior dryer vent located about 12 feet off the ground. Notice that it actually has a cover to keep out the rain and what not; the flaps blow open when the dryer is exhausting.

This is how I like to spend my down time in the evenings after being at work day all day teaching, answering emails and phone calls,  and sitting on hiring committees. There is something so relaxing about dismantling my dryer for kicks.

Well look what I found while I was having my evening machinery dismantling. This poor guy was actually up in the bottom of the dryer itself. I could only get to him by taking the back cover off the dryer.

Believe it or not, this is actually the second year in a row this had happened. The lesson here for would be criminals in my hood: if you break in my house, they will be taking you out in a body bag. (Don't I sound tough for someone who doesn't even own a gun?)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

In a shameless self-exploitation of my birthday for page views, feel free to leave any birthday comments here rather than Facebook.   

Hahahaha! You guys rock!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tell Me How You Really Feel

At my college, the end of year institutional climate survey indicated that many people felt there was a divide between faculty and staff and that, in general, communication between various college areas was lacking.

I beg to differ.

Now I am considered by most to be a pretty smart guy. I have written 25 page papers on topics such as the marginalization of the subaltern in post-colonial societies as represented in the literature of Alice Walker or the psychological journey from a state of divisiveness to a state of unity of mind and body by characters in the works of D.H. Lawrence.

As a part of my college's re-accreditation team, I have attended conferences in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida where I investigated best assessment practices, general education competencies, student learning outcomes, etc. I use this knowledge to help our college grow and meet the ever changing needs of higher education.

I've even got two fancy degrees (which reside at home in a box in a closet somewhere) from major universities.

But as Momma Gump always says, "Stupid is as stupid does." So despite my alleged intelligence, when staff members at my college tell me what a complete dumb ass I am (just in nicer words than that) for not being able to correctly fill out a certified mail return receipt, I can only conclude that we do not suffer from a lack of communication and that, at least in my case, people feel quite comfortable letting faculty know when they are morons.

Mr. Roughton, please go sit in the corner.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Emaciation - Big Brother Style

A few days ago I had to re-enroll in my health insurance plan. If I chose not to do so, I would automatically be assigned to a 70/30 plan instead of the 80/20 plan; this would, of course, result in higher deductibles and less coverage. To qualify for the 80/20 plan, I had to avow that I was not a smoker or that I was signing up for a smoking cessation class. No problem. I had to do the same thing last year, and I don't smoke anyway.

However, this year, the insurance company also requires enrollees to avow that their Body Mass Index (BMI) is at a certain level, arbitrarily dictated by the insurance company. The idea is that obese people inherently have more medical costs, and the insurance company wants to maximize its profits by (not) paying out better insurance for members less likely to actually need that insurance and force those who would need it to either lose weight or have poorer coverage.

It's all marketed under the guise of improving the health of NC residents, but really it boils down to government/companies forcing us to make healthier choices, not for our own well being, but to make a greater profit for insurance corporations.

I don't know about you, but if I wanted to take a bath in an ice cream sundae and eat my way out of it, I feel I should be able to without Big Brother looking over my shoulder. If I wanted to eat Cool Whip and maraschino cherries until my eyes bulged out like a bull frog's and then chase it with great handfuls of Crisco, whose damn business should it be?

The other thing that bugged me about the BMI calculator is that it does not take anything into consideration except height and weight. Not skeletal frame size. Not muscle mass. Nada.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Making Love to Spaghetti

I'm tired. Not sleepy tired. Not tired as in I worked long and hard today - even though I did. I'm wandering in the desert for 40 years tired. I'm the kind of tired that some poor soul in China must have experienced as he put the last brick into the Great Wall, and then his slave master said, "Now do the other side."

Tired from a long semester. Tired from working two jobs. Tired from cleaning house. Tired from my self-imposed Draconian adherence to my Atkins diet. Tired from my son's extracurricular activities: basketball, baseball, Cub Scouts, etc. The kind of tired any parent can understand, but that (for the most part at least) only active, single parents can truly appreciate. The kind of tired where you want to go to sleep on Friday and not wake up until Monday - weekend be damned!

But I can sustain this kind of tired because there is a vacation in sight - in fewer than 30 days no less. I will be relaxing aboard a Carnival cruise ship. I just have a simple warning to other passengers:

On the first day, I intend to drink my weight in Spiced Rum. Then I am going to strip down to my underwear and dive onto the buffet bar. I am going to frolic with the pizza, make love to the spaghetti, fornicate with French bread, commit adultery with mashed potatoes. I am going to roll on my back and make carb angels in the banana pudding. I may belch loudly before passing out and sleeping a good 32 hours straight right on the buffet. You can either just pick around my comatose body or else go eat at one of the grills on another deck. It really doesn't concern me.

When I have slept and eaten enough to satisfy even the Mongol hordes, I will get up, pick the noodles off my by then globular body, and return to laying bricks in the other side of the Great Wall - all the while singing the Mr. Rogers theme song.